Princess Diana’s 1995 Panorama interview was a gut punch to many in the royal family, but perhaps none more so than her son Prince William, just 13 years old at the time. Already suffering from the humiliation of seeing his father’s indiscretions with Camilla play out as front-page news, William was devastated when Diana publicly outed her own infidelity, her eating disorder, and her attempts at self-harm on BBC to Martin Bashir. 25 years later, the BBC has launched an investigation into how this interview came to be, following claims that Bashir lied to Diana and her brother to make them paranoid and convince them to spill royal family secrets. And now, William himself is addressing the investigation — and it’s clear that the royal still believes his mother must have been under duress to put the family (and herself) through the additional scrutiny that followed.
Amidst a royal divorce that no one in the firm could have seen coming, the massive PR disaster that was Prince Charles’ and Diana’s separation may have overshadowed just how difficult that time was for their boys. While the nation’s eyes turned to William and Prince Harry in the weeks that followed their mother’s death, royal biographer Robert Lacey notes that the boys’ struggle to exist in the public eye began years prior with their parents’ split.
After his mother’s Panorama interview detailing her affair with James Hewitt and denouncing Charles, Lacey writes that William was stunned even at the time that his mother would air such personal matters — particularly knowing how it would affect her sons.
“”Diana spoke of ‘betrayal,’ and that was exactly what William now felt,” Battle of Brothers, Lacey’s account of William and Harry’s royal feud, reads, “Their mother had clearly seen how upset both her sons had been when Charles had confessed his intimacy with Camilla on television the previous year. Here she was doing the very same thing, and even talking about her ‘love’ for this other man.”
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A quarter-century later, William still feels strongly that there’s more to the story of his mother’s interview. And he seems quite content with BBC looking into Bashir’s actions and motives as a place to start.
“The independent investigation is a step in the right direction,” William said, per a Palace statement William said, according to a Palace statement per Entertainment Tonight. “It should help establish the truth behind the actions that led to the Panorama interview and subsequent decisions taken by those in the BBC at the time.”
Harry, who was 11 years old at the time of Diana’s interview, has yet to speak out on the matter.
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